Preparing Your Property for Seismic Retrofitting

Los Angeles Requires Seismic Retrofitting

Los Angeles, California now requires Seismic Retrofitting.

As Californians, many of us have been waiting for “the big one” for years.

In 2015 Los Angeles set the nation’s strictest earthquake regulations. 15,000 of the city’s buildings will need to be retrofitted so that they can withstand the shaking of severe earthquakes.

Seismic retrofitting involves the process of securing buildings that may not have been adequately anchored prior to current retrofitting standards.

Most of the retrofitting will need to be done to the city’s apartment-style structures.

Smaller and medium-sized complex owners may not have the capital to complete their projects, but the city is offering various programs to help fund the cost. Also, many contractors have banks behind them and can offer financing to help fund the retrofit process. Continue reading

How Can I Repair My Building and Property To Code?

Code Compliance On Old Home Construction

Code compliance differs between old and new construction and repairs.

If you’ve ever been to Redlands, California, you may have seen its many historic buildings. There are dozens of Victorian-style residences and Craftsman era homes that date back more than 100 years.

I was recently talking with an acquaintance here in town that owns (and was looking to sell) an older home from the late 1800’s. He was telling me all about some of the renovations that he thought were necessary in order to bring the home up to code and make it habitable as a residence. There was a lot of work that needed to be done – ranging from replacing old electrical and plumbing work to repairing some damage to the structure that was a result of age and unstable land.

At one point, I was asked what I thought should be done about the structural issues due to the unstable land beneath the home? He was very concerned about what the city’s building department might require to repair the structure in order to sell it.  Since Helfrich-Associates has performed many investigations of structures that were built on unstable property, I knew he was probably dealing with issues that could range anywhere from minor cracks in the floors, walls, and ceilings, to difficulty operating doors and windows, to significant and serious foundation movement. If not repaired, these issues could discount the property value. Continue reading

Solving Foundation Stabilization Problems from Start to Finish

water tower with foundation stabilization issues

As a property owner, an issue with your foundation stabilization can be an expensive process, and the process of correcting the issues can often be frustrating and disruptive.

When one door closes, another one opens – unless of course your property is suffering foundation issues, in which case getting those doors to behave might be harder than it should be.

As a property owner, an issue with your foundation can be an expensive process, and the process of correcting the issues can often be frustrating and disruptive. You’re going to need professional help to make sure it’s done right the first time.

Evaluating a property and getting a business or residence repaired, safe and usable is our specialty. Our team has successfully completed over 200 foundation repair projects – giving us the experience and the know-how for getting property owners back into their buildings with fewer headaches.

The team at Helfrich-Associates, a one-stop shop that handles all aspects of soils engineering, geology, and structural engineering services, can help. We’re a premier engineering and construction consulting firm in Southern California and throughout the Southwest United States.

First, let’s talk about what causes foundation problems. Continue reading

Case Study: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Berkeley Marina

Case Study: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Berkeley

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Berkeley.

This week we’ll be covering our latest case study. In early 2011 Helfrich-Associates was asked to examine a hotel in the city of Berkeley and evaluate the structural integrity of a portion of the hotel.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at Berkeley Marina is located less than 5 miles from Emeryville and only 20 minutes from Oakland International Airport. The hotel is situated on Berkeley Marina.

The hotel, built in the 1970s, had a building that was suffering from titling due to uneven soil conditions. The building in question, number three (3), was built on a 12-inch thick, reinforced mat foundation that was not sufficient to deal with the settling of soft soils. As a result the building had tilted more than 20 inches. Continue reading

Get The Facts On Liquefaction Mitigation

Liquefaction mitigation can help reduce property damage in Long Beach, California.

Liquefaction mitigation can help reduce property damage. Image of Long Beach, California courtesy of Pixabay.com

Since the beginning of civilization people have always wanted to live near bodies of water. As building construction has advanced so has the need for stable structures that can resist the forces of nature. Earthquake-prone regions are particularly difficult to build in. Soil near rivers, as well as areas that are close to the ocean, can lose strength during an earthquake and turn into a soup-like consistency. Among other problems, structures built on top of the unstable soil can settle and tilt. Continue reading